Archive for the ‘Cynomel’ Category

Summer and Other Things

IMG_1917 (2)Last week I was sitting on my canopied deck sipping my milky Keemun Congou tea when my ears were suddenly assailed with the chattering of birds. Not just any birds, no, not these birds, these are MY orioles, the Eastern and Orchard orioles. When they arrive in April and May they tell me their winter stories of joy and sorrow. Stories about their long flight north and who made it and who didn’t. They tell stories of their hunger and show their appreciation by gobbling bowl upon bowl of the purple goo that I lovingly put on my deck railing. After all they need the energy to start their nests and raise their broods and their time with me is brief. Within weeks of first hearing their songs they will nest and their visits will wane.

Then around this time of the summer (August) they return in profusion. Only this time they are accompanied by their young, their very demanding, very hungry offspring who have gone from infants to teenagers in a matter of weeks. They yell at their parents and flap their wings demanding more and more jelly be put in their mouths. At times I will look out at the crab tree they sit in and it will be aflutter with a dozen or more orioles and I just smile. These orange and black lovelies make my summer days complete (so I guess you could say they complete me).

Sometimes I am left heartbroken by their stories and it seems every year there is one heartbreaking tale to be told. One year it was a female oriole with a tumor on her beak. Every day she returned for more jelly and would often sit right by me and eat what she could get in her mouth and stare me in the eye. She struggled and I cried but every day she returned and every day we “talked”. One day she came and I could tell she was suffering; really just asking me for relief but coward that I am I knew Mother Nature would offer her solace soon enough and let her be but kept her fed as best I could. Then one day she didn’t come anymore and I knew her suffering was over. I still cry over her (I cry now telling her story).

My orioles will soon be migrating south to escape our brutal winter winds. They will bulk up for the next month on cheap, Target grape jelly because that is the jelly they have requested (believe me I have tried organic this and that and the bowls sit there and are emptied in to the trash) and as soon as Mother Nature alerts them they will leave for Florida and Mexico. I will miss their discussions and their bossy attitude about my deck but I know, as sure as I know winter will come in Minnesota, they will return and I will joyously welcome them home.

Little things can be important

For some my orioles are little unimportant things but to me they are a huge part of my summer joy, so it is with other things in life. Take a night of sleep for instance. For some people sleep is never a problem. For others, like my daughter, sleep is a precious commodity as her nights are still interrupted by the demands of a hungry, growing baby boy. For me, sleep continues to be one of those perplexing issues. I have nights when I sleep the sleep of kittens and then other nights I am fitful and restless all night long and morning simply cannot come soon enough.

This past week I finally took the bull by the horns because I had regularly been waking up all night long with horrible dreams and aches and pains. I decided I had to experiment a bit and suffer the consequences if need be. I have been doing the CT3M dosing for T3 for about two months I think (time does fly so it may be longer than that).

My normal dosing for some weeks has been to take 25 mcg of T3 sometime between 1 and 2 in the morning. My next dose of 12.5 mcg would be between 8-10 a.m. and my final dose around 5-6 in the evening. Almost every night I was waking at midnight in a real huff as the result of some horrible dreams (nightmares). I would settle back down but my sleep wouldn’t be good until I took that 1-2 a.m. dose of T3. After that dose I would sleep like a kitten again.

Think Kristin, think

This got me to thinking, if I am waking at midnight and only sleeping well after I take 25 mcg of T3 at 1 or 2 in the morning, I am not providing enough T3 at the midnight dump. When my demand for T3 is at its greatest (typically midnight) my T3 was mostly used up having not taken any since 5 p.m. Perhaps if I went back to taking T3 at bedtime, lights out, my sleep would improve and there wouldn’t be the shocking nightmares.

In the past week I started dosing my T3 more like this:

  • Bedtime (8:30-9:00 p.m.)- 12.5 mcg
  • 3 a.m. -25 mcg
  • 12 noon-12.5 mcg

Krisinsight

Here is what I think was happening. I am not saying I am right but it is what I think. At midnight I was running low on T3 after not taking any for 7 hours. If you don’t take enough T3 to feed your thyroid your adrenals will kick in some adrenaline to compensate. That mass-produced adrenaline startles you awake and even can produce nightmares. You heart will beat rapidly, your breathing will be elevated and you are  in a sweat, like a hot flash.

By taking a bedtime dose of T3 when my demands are their greatest I have T3 to offer my body and it uses every bit but I don’t wake up with a jolt, nor in a sweat. I have pleasant dreams as I did last night that I can’t quite remember. I was recalling with vividity my disturbing dreams during those weeks of taking my last dose at 5 p.m..

I knew my body was getting enough total T3 because of my recent blood test and that was really perplexing for me. I would go over and over all the possibilities and sometimes even feel somewhat hopeless. I mean, would I ever sleep normally again? Was it time to do a diurnal cortisol test (well, yes it is but money, money, money) and see how the old adrenals were faring?

I don’t know everything and every day I learn something new or I consider it a wasted day. That said, I know one thing for sure, there will be further tweaking. I know, as almost all thyroid resistance folks know, this thyroid stuff is a continual journey and I will not be put off by the need to make a change to improve my quality of life. That is my solemn promise to self.

Like my orioles come back every spring I will return next week. Until then have a great week and if you need help please feel free to ask. Ask me, ask your friends, ask your medical provider because by dealing with the crisis you will find an answer.

Santé,

Kris

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How Do You Know When to Increase?

I am writing this post on the day before Mother’s Day because I get the honor of having my daughter, her husband and my grandson with me tomorrow, Mother’s Day. What a great gift she is giving me as I know my daughter hates getting in the car and traveling across town but she is doing it to honor me and that makes me feel very humbled and grateful.

On bold moves

This week I made the bold move of increasing my T3 dosage. To many that may seem like no news. For someone like me who went through an entire year of incremental increases of T3 gradually exceeding the dose my body could tolerate it is a bold move indeed.

I will try to provide a short timeline for those who are interested otherwise skip down to “Along came T3”. I started my T3 only in April 2010. I decided to try T3 only because nothing was helping an irregular heartbeat I had suffered with for about a year prior to starting T3-only.

When I was first diagnosed with hypothyroidism about 15 years ago I was prescribed what I now call Syncrap, T4-only. Then around 2005 I got tired of always needing to increase my thyroid meds and stopped taking them. Just for the record, that was not a good idea. This in turn eventually caused my adrenals to burn out, a.k.a. adrenal fatigue. Finally in about 2007 I started seeing Dr. Robert Bruley in Linden Hills, MN. He put me on compounded T3 and T4 adjusting the T4 according to my symptoms but keeping the T3 very low.

I stayed on T3/T4 for a year or two but my heart continued to give me troubles. I knew from my symptoms that this was not a weak heart or blocked arteries. It would come on at certain times of day and certain times of day it would be non-existent. Exercise didn’t bring it on, stress didn’t bring it on but when it came on it was so severe it would make me cough as if I had asthma.

Finally in late 2009, I convinced Dr. Bruley to let me try Armour. I felt a drug that supplied me with T1, T2, T3 and T4 was superior to one that was mostly T4 with a tiny bit of T3. I was probably correct but it still didn’t solve the problem. My palps were disturbing but thankfully not life threatening.

Along came T3

Then in April of 2010 I took a really bold step and started T3-only. I did so without Dr. Bruley but with the wonderfully helpful people on a thyroid forum who looked at my RT3 blood test and told me I had thyroid resistance and needed T3-only to clear the T4 that was blocking the all important T3 from entering my cells. These folks had all been under treated by allopathic doctors and some had come very close to dying as a result of T4-only thyroid drugs. They had found help in taking T3-only but first they had to clear the T4 out of the thyroid cell receptors and that my friends is the bit of Hell I mentioned earlier.

It took me 9 months to finally feel normal again after starting T3. That was about 4 months of checking my temperature three times a day. 5 months of hand tremors. 6 months of horrible sleepless nights. All that but my heart was beating quite regularly at this point, not all the time but more and more it was not beating irregularly and no more coughing, none. Finally at 9 months came a realization that I had to dramatically decrease my T3 dosage. I couldn’t take the sleepless nights nor shaking hands. I gradually dropped my dose to 37.50 mcg at dose where I felt comfortable and my heart still beat normally.

At that point I felt good and decided I just couldn’t keep concentrating on the negative. I needed to be well. I quit taking my temperature three times a day and got on with my life. I knew 37.5 mcg wasn’t enough but it was okay for a while. About 7 months ago I increased gradually to 50 mcg and have been at that dose ever since.

At 50 mcg I had almost normal energy, my hair loss decreased, my sleep was reasonably good. I even slept on my left side at night (on your left side you can hear your heartbeat and when it is irregular that is disturbing). However, I knew I should wake up feeling more aware and sharp than I was. Even when I started my B12 shots, instead of feeling much better I felt only marginally better and, as time passed I felt even more lethargic than I had been feeling.

The good news

I think this makes a short blog a long one and I am sorry for the verbosity but we now move onward. This week I finally took a basal temperature and when it read 97.3 I knew it was time to increase my T3 and I felt certain my body could handle an increase. On Tuesday I added 6.25 mcg to my 11 a.m. dose. The first day I felt no change whatsoever. The second day I could tell my pulse was slightly higher and my sleep was better.

So far things are working rather well. My temperatures were up on the second day but now four days later they are down again.  My blood pressure is closer to normal (109/70). My pulse is normal (70). I don’t feel so muzzy headed when I get up in the morning. With my temperatures hovering around 98 during the day I know I am not done. I need more T3 and will aim for 75 mcg as that is the level that most people need to feel really good but if at anytime the tremors return or I feel hyper the dose will change. That is the beauty of T3-only, you can lower it and see quick improvement.

Kris Insight

Here is why I think it is working this time. It is only a theory mind you but I think taking the B12 shots and increasing my cellular levels of B12 has contributed to allowing what T3 I take to actually get in to the cells. When the T3 is finally allowed in to the cells you go quite hypo (slight weight gain, sluggishness) because you are using it all and need more.

I also think my inadequate levels of selenium, zinc, CoQ10 and Inositol were possibly keeping my cells from clearing all the T4 out and/or allowing all the T3 in to the receptors. I am now taking therapeutic doses of all those nutrients to get my cellular levels up where they belong.

I could be wrong so don’t take me to task about my insight. I am not a doctor, I am a dental hygienist who has successfully treated her thyroid resistance with the help of the “village”. With that said, if you are still having troubles with getting your T3-only treatment to work for you (or any thyroid treatment for that matter) may I make a suggestion? Get a Spectracell Nutrient test. It is clear to me that we really must test everything we can at the cellular level not just a normal blood test.

If you want more information on the trials and tribulations of going it alone just go here. I have pages and pages of experience you can read through. Obviously I am still learning and I need to keep an open mind and an informed one but for today increasing a minute amount has made a difference and I feel good.

Santé,

Kris

On Being Hypothyroid and Other Minutaie

Spring has sprung in Minnesota and as always I am reminded that with spring there is renewal and with that rebirth comes a certain amount of joy. Perhaps Anne Bradstreet said it best in Meditations Divine and Moral (1655)-“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome”.

I thought as this week brings with it the first official day of spring it might be timely to update my thyroid buddies on my current state of health. I will preempt everything by asking you to understand if I seem a bit sardonic. I admit to still being very superstitious about what I say and I know many hypothyroid people, and other “spoonies” will relate.

That said, here we go……..

T3 only and what works for me

I am still taking 50 mcg of T3. This dose seems to work pretty well for me even though by the dictates of the RT3 thyroid group it is not enough. My pulse is pretty normal and I am happy with my blood pressure. I generally have a pulse around 75-78 bpm and my blood pressure is pretty consistently at 116/69. After being outside and pulling weeds it is 122/74 with a heart rate of 81 bpm.

How I feed my adrenals

I still take 1/2 teaspoon of Celtic Sea Salt every morning and every afternoon. I salt my food heavily and often take extra salt if I feel my pulse is too high or if I have reason to perspire more than normal. A hot bath, a FIR sauna or this warm summer-like winter weather increases my perspiration and thus my need for sea salt.

I can tell by how I feel if I suddenly stand up whether or not my adrenals need more support. If I get light-headed I know I need to increase my sodium intake. It seems my adrenals, while healthier than they used to be, still require plenty of salt to feed their “condition” . Reminds me of the old adage “feed a cold, starve a fever” I feed them salt but hopefully starve them of nothing.

How to increase cellular deficiencies

Overall I think I am doing quite well but as you know my Spectracell test showed some deficiencies. I increased my Ubiquinol to 100 mg twice a day. I am taking 200 mcg of Selenium twice per day and  close to 64 mg of chelated Zinc per day. I was taking about 750 mg of Inositol per day but for some reason I didn’t feel any particular improvement and maybe felt worse.

Here is my new dog and pony trick. I finally got things straightened out between my doctor and a very helpful pharmacist at The Prescription Center in LaCrosse Wisconsin and my injectable B12 arrived post-haste. I will tell you more about injecting B12 next week after I have finally perfected the technique with Chloe’s assistance. I expect great things from an increased level of B12 and I hope not to be disappointed.

Exercise and FIR sauna resumed

I took several months off my normal frenetic exercise regimen around this time last year and I am finally getting back in to the swing of things. I am very careful not to overdo. In fact, I do something totally foreign to the before-adrenal-meltdown-me. I actually ask the SU if he will slow down when we walk together just to avoid taxing my system. I strongly believe that my heart palps were stimulated by an unnatural release of adrenalin and if just cooling it a bit avoids a reenactment I am content to be a wimp (yes, I have a problem with not pushing to the max).

Along with mild exercise (T-Tapp Basic, PACE walking, rebounder, Schwinn Airedyne) I have resumed some brief FIR sauna sessions. My basic routine is to exercise enough to sweat. While I am working out my sauna is warming up and as soon as I finish I hop in there for 15-20 minutes, salt water in hand. I have missed my sauna sessions but when you have adrenal stress the FIR sauna pushes you over the limits of what you can stand.

Kris Insight

Does all this mean I am as good as I can be? In one simple word, no. My heart still thumps occasionally, especially if I have too much caffeine or external stimulation. I have restless nights when I get up and sleep elsewhere so I don’t wake up the SU. I can only handle a tiny glass of wine unless I don’t mind being awakened by a pounding heartbeat that is in excess of 100 bpm. My mouth burns or tastes metallic most days and I occasionally have a hot flash that causes my face to flush (sex hormones are still not perfect).

Overall though, I feel fine. Not fine as in I don’t want to say anymore but the kind of fine that has a bit of cockiness and swagger. I saw this great quote on Facebook today that I strongly identify with,  “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass…..it is about learning to dance in the rain”. I have learned to dance in the rain and I feel fine.

Santé,

Kris

Keeping Promises

I am painfully behind this week but with the Labor Day holiday weekend and a most welcome visit by our daughter and our grandson I can’t say time has been wasted. In fact, I can’t think of a weekend where I have felt the joy of life quite so much. Our family took this time to just relish the happiness and blessings we have been granted. I hope you and yours were able to do the same this end of summer Labor Day weekend.

The Ability to Forget That Which We Already Knew

When I last updated you on my thyroid news I was taking 50 mcg of T3 and I reported my temperatures were just about normal. What I conveniently forgot was something that Val, the moderator of two forums discussing thyroid resistance, said and has said all along. If you take progesterone it will artificially elevate your temperatures.

I remembered her words when I started checking my temperatures on the days I do not take progesterone. They were not normal they were low and they were low all day. As soon as I started my days of 200-400 mg of progesterone my temperatures would hop back up in the normal range or close to normal range. With that evidence of low functioning thyroid and with more than a little trepidation I increased my dose of T3 by 3.125 mcg (1/6th of a tablet) on July 11th.

By July 23rd I was at 62.5 mcg of T3 and currently I am taking 68.75 mcg of T3. This has its good and bad effects and I think it is harder on my adrenals, so I am staying at this dose or lowering until I feel less adrenal stress. I do have more energy and have even cycled 20 miles up and down hills with my spousal unit (talk about adrenal challenge). However, my heart has its moments at this dose and most of them occur at night. When I increased to the latest dose around the end of August I started waking up around 1:00 but going right back to sleep.

Realization Dawns

I didn’t actually attach the restless nights to anything in particular and my thinking, faulty as it was, was my sex hormones were out of whack again. Well, my hormones probably were a little out of whack but it most likely is my thyroid hormone that is not quite right. As recently as this past Saturday night I found myself up drinking that damn salt water that slows my rapidly beating heart. As I waited for my heartbeat to regulate I started reading my health diary and low and behold the restless nights resumed when I increased my dose of T3 in July.

Perhaps the increase was not entirely to blame but in general since increasing my dose I have become more wakeful around 1 a.m.-2 a.m. My more recent rapid heartbeat episodes (Friday and Saturday night) even forced me from my warm and comfy bed where next to me my slumbering spousal unit lay unperturbed. I can stand to wake up as long as I go right back to sleep but when forced from bed for an hour or two a solution must be found. Early Sunday morning, sometime between 2-4 a.m. the light dawned, I knew what I had to do.

I decided that last night I would try taking the same dose of T3 per day but not 25 mcg at bedtime, only 12.5 mcg and spread the rest out over a 24 hour period. It worked wonders last night but if it doesn’t continue to work I will lower my dose by 6.25 mcg and further if necessary. I don’t think 50 mcg was ideal but here is what is true, I was sleeping like I hadn’t slept in years and my irregular heartbeat had become only an occasional unpleasant occurrence instead of a daily event (I am still terribly superstitious about saying all is well). If my temps had just been more normal I would have been quite happy to stay at 50 mcg of T3.

Day to Day Business

Here is where I am as of today. I am taking 68.75 mcg of T3 with the last 12.5 mcg at lights out. Most nights I also take 3 mg of Melatonin (Superior Source brand). Twice a day I take a B complex and Alpha Lipoic Acid (300 mg) both by Metabolic Maintenance. I try to take 1000 mg of Krill oil twice a day, 200 mg of Premier Brand Magnesium Glycinate and of course Vitamin D (5000 mg-10,000 mg three times a week or I use my Sunsplash Renew three times a week for 10 minutes) and Vitamin A from Atlantic Cod liver oil. I also try to take up to 1 teaspoon of sea salt (Real salt or Himalayan salt as well) a day but I prefer to put the salt on my tongue and take a swallow of water to down it. I just have not grown fond of salted water.

I actually have a number of digestive aids that help with my sluggish gall bladder. I regularly take two Biotics Research Beta TCP tablets. On my morning quinoa or in a smoothie I include Apple Pectin powder. Less frequently I take Choline Bitartrate, Ox Bile, Betaine Hydrochloride with Pepsin, Probiotics and digestive enzymes. In fact, if my gall bladder does not trouble me I only take the Beta TCP.

I am finding diet to be the best control of my digestion. I am following but not adhering strictly to Debbie Graefer’s gall bladder diet. I eat lots of quinoa for protein and very little meat, red or white. Sadly I can eat very few eggs but occasionally sneak them in a gluten free pancake recipe I enjoy. I am juicing cucumbers, celery, beets and apples and spicing it up with fresh ginger taking sips throughout the day. For now fat of any kind is very limited but I do include some flax oil, a bit of olive oil, hemp oil and the fat in my real milk and kefir. Anything with wheat and its cousins are but distant memories but I am eating lots of fermented foods for the enzymes and probiotics. It sounds boring but it has led to some weight loss and for sure less gall bladder complaints.

Even with the increased dose of T3 my temperatures are not quite normal. They are better than they were but my basal is slightly lower than it should be at 97.6 and my daytime temps probably average 98.2 but I am not regularly taking my temperature anymore.  Also I do not have my eyebrows back although I can feel tiny hairs growing in and am most encouraged by that development.

Looking Toward the Future

As of today, here are my goals. I want to have normal temperatures with no more cold toes (yes, that is a goal) and I want my eyebrows back even if they are colorless. I would like a better functioning digestive system and my hope is with increased thyroid function my gall bladder, liver, and pancreas will also work better. To increase bodily function I am going to use Reiki and incorporate other more traditional medicine. I am finally ready to get regular exercise back in to my daily routine and plan on doing T-Tapp to restore my physical body.

Promises Kept

I promised to update my thyroid news this week, so consider yourselves updated. It seems to me, when you are trying to overcome thyroid resistance it takes time, lots of time, to tweak and get everything just right. That said, in the last year and a half I have made a lot of progress and I find that very encouraging. I can even look at my own problems now and try to find the answer.

I am just wondering how many people who read my blog, (who have thyroid resistance or other ongoing health issues) feel the same way. Does it seem to take a long time to get it all just right?  When I look back on the last few years and the progress I have made I find myself feeling really grateful for the internet and the information I have gleaned from my fellow human beings. You see, in my opinion, it is only with the sharing of knowledge and experience that we will eventually get it right.

Here’s to getting it right,

Kris

Almost Nirvana and Other Madness

This week’s blog is for my fellow thyroid sufferers and other “spoonies”. A thyroid friend contacted me the other day and asked how I was doing (Hi Olivia) that got me to thinking that I hadn’t reported recently on the status of my health. There isn’t really anything earth shattering to report, nothing fabulous or horrific but I feel after a year on T3 only, and hitting more than a few bumps in the road, things are nearly there, almost nirvana (but superstition keeps me from saying anything more).

I will do a quick rundown of the past year for those who might be unfamiliar. I have had hypothyroidism for 15 years give or take a year. In those years my dose of Syn-crap was constantly inadequate and being increased every time I had my blood drawn. I found a good doctor who would let me try Armour in 2010 but after about a year on Armour I was still having problems with an irregular heartbeat that began three years prior to trying Armour (things started out quite well on Armour but then Forest Pharmaceuticals changed the formulation and the irregularity came back with a vengeance).

I decided to go the “T3 only” route in April 2010 after reading Stop the Thyroid Madness by Janie Bowthorpe and investigating various health forums that she introduced to my world. I had been battling this irregularity for more than three years now and despite what my doctor was telling me (you need to see a cardiologist) I knew  my heart was reacting to something akin to an improper release of adrenaline and that had to be caused by one thing, my improperly treated thyroid. I fit the description of a person with a Reverse T3 issue, basically an inability to get enough T3 to the thyroid receptors because they are blocked by T4. If the receptors are blocked by T4 the T4 is not converted to T3 as it needs to be for the thyroid to use it, so you are always under treated and have a resistance to any thyroid medication that has T4 in it.

Around this time last year, that is July Fourth and approximately 3 months on T3 only, I suddenly started having panic attacks, inability to sleep through the night, a feeling of not being able to swallow, diarrhea and a basal temperature of 98.2 -98.4. My daytime average wasn’t that high and other factors led many with whom I consulted to feel I was suffering intolerance. Adrenal fatigue can lead to intolerance issues, so I tested my adrenal health. The tests showed challenged adrenals, not full blown adrenal fatigue but low normal results especially midday, so I did try Isocort and then hydrocortisone but by and large those made me feel worse. [In retrospect, thanks to many talks with Nanci, I have concluded that my adrenals were weak but should never have been treated with anything containing hydrocortisone but hindsight is 20/20 as they say].

I “cleared” in July and had to drop my dose from 125 mcg to 68.75 mcg. I stayed on the Isocort (taking it like this 3-3-2-1) and gradually increased my dose of Cynomel according to my temperatures. Increasing according to my temperatures meant that I actually increased too much and too fast and eventually developed a bothersome tremor in my hands. It was so pronounced that it made my job (dental hygienist) difficult but the good news is I never had to quit working despite what I would call the rigors of clearing T4 from my receptors.

Last autumn was actually pretty miserable as I diligently climbed my way back to taking  125 mcg of T3. I was constantly taking my temperature three times a day and finding it sub normal over all, sometimes even my basal temperature was below 97.6, so I would up the dose despite the tremor and sleepless nights. Things weren’t great, I didn’t feel “normal”, my temperatures weren’t “normal” and I was getting discouraged.

Christmas was the nadir of my T3 only treatment. I had increased and decreased and now I was taking 118.75 mcg. It was Christmas Day and we were in Bayfield, Wisconsin with family an activity that usually brings me joy. That weekend I hardly slept, my heart was racing constantly. Basically, I was miserable, so I decreased again despite my temperatures  (which still weren’t normal) to 112.50 mcg. Nothing improved, nothing.

To make this now long introduction a little  shorter, after talking online for months with several helpful “thyroid friends” (to whom I am most grateful) this last winter, in February, I decreased dramatically to 50 mcg of T3. Miracles of miracles, almost overnight all of my objectionable symptoms disappeared, my temps didn’t come up but I finally felt human again after months of, gosh I hate to be dramatic, torture. I honestly couldn’t believe what a difference it made. I could go upstairs without feeling breathless, I was sleeping the sleep of normal people, my thinking was clear, my tremor completely disappeared and miracle of miracles my irregular heartbeat was better than it had been in years.

Enter Kris today. I am enjoying summer in Minnesota (yes, it finally has arrived), my new grandson and relatives visiting for the Fourth of July. I am still taking 50 mcg of T3 spread out in four equal doses the last one being as I turn the light out at bedtime. My daily average temperature is sub-par but my basal is within normal limits (97.8) and as long as I feel “human” I am sticking to 50 mcg of T3.

I know my current regimen flies in the face of everything my gurus on the RT3 site recommend but my heart is as regular as it has been in years and the other night I actually found myself sleeping on my left side. That is a significant event only for those of us who have experienced the sound of a pounding irregular heartbeat. When you lay on your left side the sounds of your heartbeat are magnified and, needless to say, unbearable when those beats are irregular. When I awoke sleeping on my left side I knew I had passed a milestone in my treatment.

I have my daily supportive routines like taking at least 1/2 teaspoon of Celtic Sea Salt every day, twice a day. I take one Thorne B #12, Thorne folocal if I take additional B12, Krill oil, antioxidants with 2000 mg of Vitamin C, and Bio-Astaxanthin every day. Other days I might add Vitamin D3, Vitamin A, Zinc Picolinate Plus, Super K, Chlorella and Spirulina.

Three times a week I put a scoop of  Boku Superfood in my morning smoothie which consists of some form of protein powder (SunWarrior or Mercola’s Whey). I am currently not following a gluten free diet but my carb intake is very low during the week and only on the weekend do I eat more carbs. I guess you could call it carb loading for a day or two which is sometimes recommended by exercise coaches.

All in all, I feel my health this summer is far better than last summer. My blood test panel showed improvements but certainly not perfection. My hormones are all low but my SHBG was very high, so that is the explanation for the low levels of my sex hormones. I know I need to compensate with higher doses of Estradiol and Progesterone but have yet to find a doctor who is knowledgeable in treating with the Wiley Protocol. My gall bladder still troubles me but that has been ongoing for years and I now understand that a sluggish thyroid lends itself to a sluggish gall bladder, so I take the necessary steps to keep it as healthy as I can. I have a very dry burning mouth at times and my eyes feel dry, so I suspect Sjogren’s but there is no diagnosis of such a thing and with a diagnosis I am not sure anything would change. I use natural lubricant for my eyes and I have very good oral hygiene.

Does my heartbeat still trouble me? Sometimes I can feel it “skip a beat” but instead of panicking I take it in stride and soon things are normal again. It is never precipitated by exercise, so I am not fearful. My blood pressure is nearly perfect if on the low side. My energy is good but I am careful not to overdo as I feel my adrenal health is still compromised (indicated by my low temperatures of 98 degrees most afternoons that I check). My sleep is the best it has been in years and I often don’t wake at all or if I do it is only once and I go right back to sleep.

My wish for all the “thyroid friends” and “Spoonies” who read this is that you, too, can find your peace. Just know that some day you will turn the corner and find your self again. Even if it is fleeting, for that singular moment just enjoy the experience of  being you again.

Happy Fourth of July,

Kris

Still Full of Ideas

‘Tis the season to draw blood. Yes, you read that right get your blood drawn but for less. If you are not aware of it, Life Extension Foundation (recommended by Suzanne Somers) is having their yearly sale on blood tests until June 6th. You have to join Life Extension for $75 and you will feel compelled to wade through their monthly magazine that I find to be mostly an advertisement for their multitude of supplements that they claim extend your life.

However there is a reward. Once a year they mark their blood panels down. These blood panels are very complete and a doctor’s order is not required. You do need to locate a LabCorp in your area for your blood draw but the price and scope of various panels is hard to beat. The knowledge you glean from your results is priceless.

This week I purchased the Female Weight Loss Panel for the sale price of $224.25. I was pleasantly surprised when the requisition form arrived in my email as on the site you are left feeling the requisition form will be mailed to you by no less than “snail mail”. I quickly printed off the order for the phlebotomist at the lab and headed off to the nearest LabCorp about 30 miles from my house. It is, fortunately for me,  near my daughter’s house and an opportunity to hold the sweetest baby.

It is not often one brags about a phlebotomist but the technicians at the LabCorp in Edina, MN are fantastic. I have never once been hurt by them. They are professional and very good at what they are trained to do, drawing your blood from a vein in to a portal that empties in to vial. Not only are the techs good the facility is clean and LabCorp does most drug testing for big companies in the Twin Cities. This is not a dank, dark lab hidden deep down some disreputable street it is an office on the 6th floor of the Fairview Professional Building next to one of the larger hospitals in the Twin Cities. The first time I went I was most fortunate that my daughter had just had her drug test for a new job, so she knew precisely where LabCorp was and told me it was totally professional. It put my mind to rest and now I can help you, LabCorp is a reputable company and most online labs use them for the blood draws.

I had my blood drawn on Monday morning at 8:00 and was on my way by 8:05. My test results were in my “inbox” on Thursday evening not weeks later as they would be if your doctor’s office orders the tests. I got home late Thursday night and questioned the intelligence of opening the results before I went to bed but decided no one was home and if I was up late there would be no repercussions.

I don’t know if you face test results with the same trepidation. Basically, I want to know but I don’t want to know, so test results are always a source of stress for me. This may come down to what I wrote about last week, that sort of base pessimism that I have, or just some bad memories of doctors looking at my results and saying “you will have a heart attack if you don’t lower your cholesterol”. I have since learned that cholesterol has very little predictive powers when it comes to your heart but it doesn’t stop those words from ringing in my head when looking at blood test results.

I will not bore you with too many numbers. I can tell you there were some pleasant surprises like my low CRP result and my uric acid reading was also very good. Disappointingly my sex hormones were still almost non-existent and I have increased the amount of almost all my bio-identical hormones. My FT3 was too low but my SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) was high indicating a good saturation level of T3 in my tissues. The high SHBG is the reason my hormone levels are so low and I will have to do my research to rectify that as it is binding all my sex hormones and not letting my body utilize them.

For my thyroid friends my TSH was suppressed at .034 but it should be on T3-only and my FT4 was negligible at .03, again perfectly normal with T3 only and indicative of having my RT3 under control. My low FT3 was 3.2 and should be closer to 6 when I am taking T3 only as there is no T4 to turn in to T3, so I will have to increase my T3 but not until my adrenals can take the load. I feel confident that I am no longer pooling any FT3 but my issue is that higher levels of T3 cause sleeplessness and exaggerated heart palps. My iron was good at 107, so my intolerance is not due to anemia.

Speaking of cholesterol as I was earlier I was unhappy about my increased LDL numbers as that has always been low but my ratio was still acceptable. My bilirubin numbers were slightly elevated and while I would like them lower they have been elevated for several years. Two puzzlers were high hemoglobin and high hematocrit. I could very well have been dehydrated and that will raise the level of both. I need to peruse Lab Tests Online to see what I can learn about elevated hemoglobin and hematocrit.

I feel like this has been a big week and for once blood test results have made me feel like I am full of ideas on how to improve the numbers I don’t like. In the past test results have seemed more like a harbinger of bad things to come and ideas on how to improve things have been out weighed by the negative news from my doctor. There is nothing like fear and trepidation to paralyze a person and when inertia sets in nothing gets done and Big Pharma becomes the victor. This time I am in charge of my health and I am ready for the challenge.

Heading Up the Thyroid Highway

Over the last two weeks I have learned things are never as they seem. There is no mold we all fit in, no normal, no one size fits all. I will be the first to admit my journey along Thyroid Highway has been bumpy this last 9 months. I have tried to fit in to a normal classification and met with more than a little resistance. My valuable lesson this week is with the T3 only protocol there is no normal there are just possibilities.

While on vacation in February I had many sleepless nights. Those nights were not all bad as I was staying on the ocean and could hear the almost hypnotizing drum of the water on rock outside my window. However, sitting inside in the middle of the night with a racing pulse and a heavy heartbeat is not comforting or restoring and doesn’t even qualify as “biphasic sleep“. After more than one night of sleeplessness I knew I needed to lower my dose of T3. It went against everything I understood to be true of taking Cynomel (T3) but I finally, painfully lowered my already low dose of T3 and to my amazement I slept, my temperatures went up and my energy seemed normal. My daily dose was now 62.50 mcg of T3 and “most” people do better on 75-125 mcg of T3 or so they say.

A week ago we flew home from Oregon and the next day I returned to the shaky, hyper person I am at home and I was dismayed but plowed along. Monday night was not a good one, Tuesday night I slept. Wednesday night found me wide awake from 12:30 to 3:30 with a racing pulse. Thursday night I slept, so along comes Friday.

Friday I went to sleep right away but after several little electrically charged wake up calls from my heart I got up an hour later. I took my pulse and found  it was beating 103 times a minute and seemed weak, so I drank two glasses of water each with 1/2 teaspoons of Celtic Grey Salt mixed in. Halfway through the second glass of water I was freezing. I had been sitting in a t-shirt in our Arctic cool livingroom (well that was how if felt an hour later, it is generally 59 degrees on a winter night) and I determined if I did nothing else I was going back to my warm bed and lay next to a warm body. Never mind that as soon as I got back to bed the warm body next to me got up as now he couldn’t sleep. It bothered me not, I now slept with a calm heart.

Saturday I felt my disrupted night’s sleep like I had been up for hour upon hour not just a mere hour. I felt jittery tired, God I hate jittery tired. My pulse was still racing at times and my temps had not been good all week. One day that week my average was 97.8. My basal temperature one morning was 97.3. Late on Saturday afternoon I took all this in to account and knew the T3 was still stressing my adrenals so I decided to lower my dose of T3 yet again and lower the Isocort I was taking from 5 to 3 to see how my body reacted. That night I bravely took my bedtime dose of T3 (something I haven’t been able to do for weeks) and laid down and slept. It was the kind of  sleep that is often elusive for me, that blessed, all night kind of sleep. My dose was now 56.25 mcg of T3.

If you are not familiar with the RT3 and T3-Only Protocol this all means nothing to you and you think I am rambling and a bit flaky. I know the look on your face because I see it often when I try to talk to the SU about thyroid disease, so stop now and spare yourself total boredom. However, if you are familiar with T3-only you will be interested to know that despite the “normals” people talk about there appear to be those of us who need less, or better said, can tolerate much less and we don’t die, in fact we feel better for the low dose.

When I talk about reducing my dose, the reader needs to keep in mind that each grain of Armour Natural Dessicated Thyroid has about 9 mcg of T3 in it, so I am still taking the equivalent of 6 grains of Armour Thyroid. If you have to lower your dosage try to keep in mind just how much T3 you are still taking. I am reminded suddenly of the advice I give my dental patients when they hate flossing. If they only floss once every week it is still 52 times a year, double that and you have whopping 104 times, so every little bit helps. Perspective is really important when dealing with your very human body.

I have now been in touch with two thyroid friends ( You ask what is a thyroid friend? A friendship or kinship that occurs when people share similar health problems.) who are taking low doses of T3. One person is on 30 mcg, another friend is at 37.50 mcg and all three of us feel good at these “low” doses. We all have taken more T3 in the past to clear the T4 out but after trial and error our doses have been lowered to a level our bodies can tolerate. The person on 30 mcg had a thyroid panel run recently and her TSH is a bit high at 2.3 and her FT3 was around 3, so she may look hypo on paper but she feels great, has energy that she hasn’t had in years. The person on 37.50 mcg lowered on the same day I did to the 37.50 mcg and her fibro pain was improved the next morning  and she slept peacefully that night for the first time in some while.

I have no doubt that I will once again raise my dose of T3 but my message for those who are treating with T3-only is don’t be afraid to lower your dose to a level that is “sub-optimal” if things are not going well. If your temperatures suddenly show signs of stress, as mine did when they plummeted, try reducing your dose and see if they come up again. If they don’t, obviously the problem wasn’t adrenal stress and you can try raising the dose after 5 days or so and then look for other causes of your intolerance. It is misleading if you are of the mindset that says everyone is from the same cookie cutter. The way you react to your environment, to things you ingest and to life makes you unique. With time and experience you might be able to treat thyroid disease by how you feel because what is most important is having good energy, healthy hair and skin, ideal weight, and if you go by my experience a really good night’s sleep.

Here is to traveling the tortuous route with friends,

Kris